Gal Gadot And Patty Jenkins On The Gender Politics Behind ‘Wonder Woman’

Gal Gadot and director Patty Jenkins are making history with “Wonder Woman” – whether they like it or not.

In a new article with The Hollywood Reporter, Jenkins and Gadot open up about the pressure they face with the latest big screen DC Comics adaptation. Jenkins may bear the responsibility of helming “Wonder Woman”, the most expensive to ever be directed by a female, but she’s more content to focus on the character than on this history-making achievement.

“I can’t take on the history of 50 per cent of the population just because I’m a woman,” she says of the gender politics at play. “I’m just trying to make the greatest version of ‘Wonder Woman’ that I can for the people who love the character as much as I do and hope that the movie lives up to all the pressure that’s on it.”

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Jenkins, 45, is no stranger to directing duties and is perhaps best known for directing Charlize Theron to an Oscar in 2003’s “Monster”. Directing is a role that comes naturally to Jenkins, who questions why the position is so firmly rooted in masculinity.

“I’m sure there’s a long history of belief that certain jobs are masculine,” she tells The Hollywood Reporter. “But why a director would fall into that [category] makes me very confused. Because it feels like a very natural job for a woman. It’s incredibly maternal in a way. You’re caretaking all of these sorts of things. To be a director, you need to be reliable, on time, confident, calm, all of those things you see demonstrated in the military,” she says, touching on her upbringing in the military, something she has in common with Gadot who served in the Israeli Defense Forces.

“We are all used to having male protagonists in movies [directed by men]. But the way Patty has captured the Wonder Woman character, she is very relatable to everyone. Boy, girl, man, woman – everyone can relate to her,” Gadot adds.

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While this is the first comic book film to be directed by a woman (after Lexi Alexander’s “Punisher: War Zone” in 2008), Jenkins very nearly made her superhero debut with Thor. In 2013, she walked away from directing “Thor: The Dark World” for Warner Bros.

“There have been things that have crossed my path that seemed like troubled projects,” she says, alluding to the “Thor” sequel. “And I thought, ‘If I take this, it’ll be a big disservice to women. If I take this knowing it’s going to be trouble and then it looks like it was me, that’s going to be a problem. If they do it with a man, it will just be yet another mistake that the studio made. But with me, it’s going to look like I dropped the ball, and it’s going to send a very bad message.’ So I’ve been very careful about what I take for that reason.”

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This time around, Jenkins seems to have found the perfect project with “Wonder Woman”. Star Gadot credits the director for her vision of the character, adding Jenkins was chosen to direct the female superhero flick, not because she’s a woman, but because she was the best person for the job.

“It might translate to some people that the only reason they took Patty for the job was because she is a woman,” she says. “Honestly, they took her for the job because she was the right person to deliver the movie with a similar vision to theirs. Credit Patty for not turning [Wonder Woman] into a ballbuster. Wonder Woman can be very charming and warm and have so much compassion and love for the world. She can be soft and naive. At the same time, she just happens to be this demigoddess who can beat the s*** out of you and can be a super bada$$ and smart and confident. Ultimately, she’s very relatable.”

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